Jon Stewart defended friend Dave Chappelle against charges of antisemitism during a sitdown with Stephen Colbert last night.
Chappelle's controversial November 12 Saturday Night Live monologue was slammed by the Anti-Defamation League for "popularizing" antisemitic sentiments, a move Stewart thinks was perhaps misguided.
"Everybody calls me like, 'you see Dave on SNL?' And I say yes, we're very good friends. I always watch and send nice texts," said Stewart. "'He normalized antisemitism with the monologue!' And I'm like, I don’t know if you’ve been on comment sections on most news articles, but it's pretty f*cking normal... It's incredibly normal," he continued.
"But the one thing I will say is, I don’t believe that censorship and penalties are the way to end antisemitism or to not gain understanding. I don’t believe in that. I think it's the wrong way for us to approach it."
Stewart then made light of Kyrie Irving's suspension from the Brooklyn Nets for sharing an antisemitic film, jesting that Irving's punishment should come in the form of sending him to the New York Knicks. He did, however, repeat his sentiment regarding addressing antisemitism. "Penalizing somebody for having a thought — I don’t think is the way to change their minds or gain understanding," said Stewart.
He went on to discuss Chappelle's monologue further, calling one point Chappelle made "constructive". "...He says, 'it shouldn’t be this hard to talk about things'... I can't pretend that there aren't a sh*t ton of people in this country and this world who believe that the Jews have an unreasonable amount of control over the systems and they wield it as puppetmasters," he said.
"Whether it be comedy or discussion or anything else, if we don’t have the wherewithal to meet each other with what’s reality, then how do we move forward?" he went on. "If we all just shut it down, then we retreat to our little corners of misinformation and it metastasizes. The whole point of all this is to not let it metastasize and to get it out in the air and talk about it."
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Jade Budowski is a freelance writer with a knack for ruining punchlines and harboring dad-aged celebrity crushes. She was previously a reporter/producer at Decider and is a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow her on Twitter: @jadebudowski.